Jordan Flu Game Details Emerge

1997 NBA Finals Game Five: Chicago Bulls v Utah Jazz

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few months ago we learned that the Jordan XII’s Michael Jordan wore during the famous “Flu Game” — also known as Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals — were going up for auction. At the time, there weren’t many details known, other than Jordan gave the shoes to a Utah Jazz ballboy after the game, and that ballboy had hung onto the shoes for nearly two decades now.

But in a piece in today’s Salt Lake Tribune, that ballboy, named Preston Truman, is sharing his side of the story of how he ended up with the iconic kicks, a tale that involves applesauce, graham crackers and being in the right place at the right time.

It’s a fun read, and reveals some cool details from behind the scenes of one of the most memorable NBA games of all-time. From the article…

[Truman] was one of the first in the building to know that Jordan would play that night when, as Bulls coach Phil Jackson gathered the team to go onto the court, Jordan finally got up and put his jersey on. He watched Jordan struggle back to the bench during timeouts; he ran Jordan a spoon for three small cups of applesauce at halftime; he heard Jordan tell doctors “F— no” when they suggested he sit out for a while.

Truman’s parents would later tease him because the broadcast showed him — a lifelong Jazz fan — patting MJ on the shoulder after he wrapped him in a towel.

When Jordan hit the clinching shot and leaned into Pippen’s arms, barely able to stand, Truman estimates he was 5 feet away.

“I was like ‘I think I’m going to see this again and again.’”

(via Salt Lake Tribune)


  1. lbj says:

    I want D-Rose ACL injury shoes and Kobe Bryant career ending injury shoes last year!!! How about Bruce Bowen kick face shoe to player in the three point area?

    • LBJ (Lotter Bound Jazz) says:

      The BIG difference is Jordan continued to play EMPHATICALLY through his illness, whereas your scenarious are player getting injured and sitting out the game or longer- These scenarios do not represent players pushing through their pain to win a BIG game. Had Rose continued to play through his injury, then yeah those shoes would be on par.

      • justin says:

        kobe did keep playing through his pain plus he sunk baskets even with the achilles injury

      • Ambuj says:

        Play though what ? A torn ACL and a torn Achilles ?? Kobe won a championship on a broken finger in his shooting hand and has played through countless other injuries. And Rose had a torn ACL. What was he supposed to do ? Say “Coach I want to stay” ???

      • kobe shot two clutch free throws and walked by himself even after tearing his achilles

      • LBJ (Lotter Bound Jazz) says:

        …Still not to the same degree Jordan did it!!!

      • LBJ (Lotter Bound Jazz) says:

        I am not saying Rose should play through a torn ACL, and I am not saying anyone should play with a flu either, quit coming to strange conclusions on your own. Someone was comparing DRose’s “ACL” shoes to Jordan’s “Flu shoes”. I am just trying to point out that those are bad comparisons for the obvious.

    • TheStarMiddleschooler says:

      This “lbj” Character must not watch/Understand anything but Lebron is on the winning team.
      Go watch real basketball.

    • terrell says:

      I think this kid is telling the truth!!! if you stop the video when pippen was tapping mj on the back look very closely and you will see someone in a tie patting mj on the back after placing the towel over his face. So, if someone else can come forward and verify he was the utah jazz ball boy and if his parents confess that mj gave him those shoes….. They are worth millions but only if mj really did give him those shoes!!!

    • Animated Movie Tournament says:

      don’t be rude. it’s not fake. they’ve verified the story.

    • Yi-Hsien says:

      What is fake?

  2. Hmmm, I don’t know if I entirely believe. Don’t get me wrong, Jordan is the best to ever play the game… but playing through a flu? I don’t know.

    • LBJ (Lotter Bound Jazz) says:

      Why would he fake being sick. The dude was already the best and had nothing to prove, because he had already proven himself. Some say it was food poisoning, which no doubt was rough, but if you were the Gretest player would you sit out an important game?

      • Barkley says:

        That’s right he proven himself but he want to be exaggerated and show people that he is the greatest of all time but he isn’t Magic Johnson is the GOAT he can play on all position and the name itself will identify that he is the greatest of all. Believe in Magic!

      • LBJ (Lotter Bound Jazz) says:

        I just re-watched the game, it is clear Jordan is under unusual physical distress, watch his gestures, sweat rolling off his head when no one else is hardly sweating, blotchy cheeks, slumping eyes, yet he still gets it done, now one else (including Kobe and Drose) has had a game to this caliber under these conditions. I like Kobe and Drose , no bias here. I am a Jazz fan, that would love it if they had won that game/ series.

      • Bam says:

        U probably forgotten Nowitzki who played in game 4 of the NBA finals who had a fever of 101-102 degrees during the 2010-2011 season playoff.

      • wanadream says:

        Dirk always played hot anyway…

  3. Hmm, I don’t know about this. I don’t really believe he had the flu. Jordan is the best player to ever play the game, but how can ANYONE play through a flu? Regardless of who you are, I don’t see how that’s possible.

    • CELTICS ALL DAY says:

      you know nothing about MJ his whole career was manifested by desire and will to win he started from the bottom and climbed to the top on the same team, he got poisoned in UTAH and still played and beat them in this game 5, his will is unmatched and his mentality was fierce. simply having the flu would not stop this man from competing at the highest level game 5 tied 2-2 nba finals. hope you know believe

    • kristin says:

      what are you talking about? lol he had the flu and he played…….im confused! lol

    • Mitch says:

      its called determination, and the hunger to win. It would be possible if he wanted it THAT bad, which obviously he did

    • Mike says:

      With no offense intended i dont think you would know because you’ve never been an athlete on that level that he was on. It ain’t for nothing either that he’s considered to be one of the sportsmen in history with the most will power and determination. Most people who say that this story is pure BS are just biased and deluded Lebron fanboys.

    • Phillip Young says:

      In High school, I played a full length football game in the freezing rain with a high fever. I even had to go to the emergency room afterwards. I’m pretty sure that it’s highly possible Jordan played through a flu.

    • LBJ (Lotter Bound Jazz) says:

      Of course you don’t believe Jordan had the flu, you are a Lakers fan. Kobe and/ Magic are second to Jordan, unless you live in L.A.

  4. Americans says:

    ammmmmmmm and thats IT????????? Cool story, bro!

  5. not impossible says:

    cuz he was on the juice

  6. NBALogics says:

    By concentrating on offense only if you watch the game he was constantly drinking gatorade and almost died neared the end. Dirk did it too in the Finals come on man.

  7. Believer says:

    Why would anyone not believe this story, he has no reason to lie; unless ur just jeleous!!

  8. Buddy says:

    what a game
    mailman failed to deliver ‘big time’ make some costly mistakes

  9. 13 says:

    hey CLICK ON ME… how old are son? 8?

    during that time basketball players play all out… as if it’s there last game………

    Jordan did it… you don’t have to believe it…. go and watch cartoon network.

  10. Me says:

    I love basketball as much as the next guy…but it’s some guys sweaty shoes he wore in a game. People can pretend these things important all they want but it’s nothing more than Ebay fodder to me.

  11. ChessCarnival says:

    Nostalgia. This is the feeling that comes to Jazz fans’ hearts right now. Unfortunately.

  12. Ivan says:

    The stat’s backup Jordan as the GOAT .. most of us have no argument there. Where we can agree to disagree is on the shameless, one-eyed MJ fans, *somehow* implying he’s the only player to have played through illness or injury. D-Rose, Kobe and Nowitzki have all done as much – and arguably more for their teams. By all means be a die-hard MJ fan … but please leave the B$ at the door.

  13. boobies says:

    Yeah, but no one gives a f*ck about who else played through injury. Here he was 34 years old and Chicago would have NOT won a championship without him, or any for that matter.

    Bulls aint sh*t without this guy